How You Can Help Your Parents Financially Without Going Broke

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.

how you can help your parents
Logo

We’ve got your back! Student Loan Hero is a completely free website 100% focused on helping student loan borrowers get the answers they need. Read more

How do we make money? It’s actually pretty simple. If you choose to check out and become a customer of any of the loan providers featured on our site, we get compensated for sending you their way. This helps pay for our amazing staff of writers (many of which are paying back student loans of their own!).

Bottom line: We’re here for you. So please learn all you can, email us with any questions, and feel free to visit or not visit any of the loan providers on our site. Read less

Most of us want the people we love to be financially secure, especially our parents. But sometimes it’s complicated trying to figure out how you can help your parents as they get older.

That’s because many aging Americans have little to no retirement savings. A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that nearly three in 10 adults ages 55 and over had no retirement savings in 2013.

But as your parents approach retirement – for which they may be ill-prepared – you have your own financial responsibilities and demands to consider.

“The sandwich generation is feeling torn between obligations to their aging parents and responsibility to their children,” says Annalee Leonard, owner of Mainstay Financial Group in Pensacola, Fla.

So how can you help parents without compromising your own money goals? Here are 10 steps you can take to help build a secure future for the whole family.

10 step program for helping your parents financially

1. Get honest about their situation

My mom turns 60 this month, putting both of my parents near retirement age. But we’ve never actually had a conversation about what their financial situation looks like. So though I worry about them, I don’t know if I should.

How can you help your parents if you don’t know if they even need it? Helping your parents financially starts with an honest conversation. Leonard recommends sitting parents down now before there’s a need.

“It should be done calmly over a breakfast or lunch – no alcohol involved,” she says. “[Ask] ‘do you have a long-term care plan? If so, we need to know what it is since we would be the ones who will help you to implement this if the need arises’.”

And if your parents don’t have a retirement plan, you should know about that, too.

2. Work with your parents to make a plan now

Few retirement or long-term care plans are perfect. You may find out during a discussion with your parents that they need help in one way or another.

“Address the issue before it’s an emergency,” suggests Michael Minter, managing partner of Mintco Financial.

Take the time to identify potential problems and start working on solutions. It might also take a few meetings to go over all of their finances and address various issues.

Minter says it’s important for you to remind your parents to keep an open mind. “[Your parents have to] be willing to re-evaluate their current budgets and be open to advice if they want the situation to change.” After all, there’s only so much you can do on your own to help them.

3. Get siblings on board

If you have siblings or other family members who can offer support, loop them into the conversation. That way you can pool resources and implement solutions together.

Teamwork will stave off the resentment of one child feeling like they are unfairly bearing the burden alone of helping parents financially. It will also help to spread out the responsibility, so what you give can go further.

“Everyone should chip in with money or time, whatever is needed,” says Leonard.

4. Prioritize your own financial health

Whatever help you plan to give parents, make sure it’s affordable for you to give.

“Do not be a martyr,” Leonard warns. “You’re not going to help anyone if you derail your own retirement for your parents or kids.”

Rather than offering financial aid from the get-go, you can help your parents learn how to use their own resources more wisely.

“Your parents need to use their own assets to finance their care,” explains Leonard. Then you can consider chipping in with an amount that’s reasonable and won’t derail your financial goals.

5. Gift them a session with a financial planner

Consider hiring a financial planner to help you and your parents create a strategy that puts their assets to the best use. You can even offer to set it up or pay for it.

“Advisors can help bridge the gap between parents and adult children and also help ask any awkward money questions,” Minter says.

Look for a financial planner who has experience with in-retirement planning and elder care. You may also want to consider hiring other experts, Leonard says, including an elder law attorney and a tax professional.

6. Research government benefits and assistance programs

When caring for aging parents, government programs can provide key financial help.

“Use the programs that you have in your local community that are there for very little or no cost,” Leonard says. “Find out what is in your community to serve you.”

Start by checking out this guide to federal aid for caregivers from the AARP to see what’s out there. Then help your parents navigate the process of signing up for and receiving these benefits. A few options to consider include:

  • Low-income senior housing
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Social Security income and Social Security Disability income

Many cities, states, or communities also have local programs to assist senior residents and their families.

7. Consider long-term care insurance

In addition to addressing immediate needs, try to figure out how to pay for future needs.

For instance, do your parents have sufficient savings to cover the cost of elder care should they need help with daily life as they age? If the answer is no, then you should probably consider long-term care insurance.

This works like most insurance options: you or your parents pay a premium. Then if your parent should need care such as a health aide or living in a nursing home, the insurance will cover the costs.

8. Put a bill in your name

You might be reluctant to just hand cash over to parents for a number of reasons. Therefore, Minter suggests picking up some of their bills and putting them in your name instead.

“In some cases, you can pay for your parents’ medical bills in a way that won’t be considered a gift for tax purposes,” Minter adds.

9. Pay down a parent’s debts

In addition to taking over a bill, consider making payments toward your parents’ debts.

Remember, the more debts your parents have, the more debt payments they’ll have to keep up with in retirement. This will eat up their cash flow and make it harder to live on a limited income.

By paying off or taking over a parent’s debt, however, you free up their cash flow. If you’d like more control over the account, you could also refinance their debts with a personal loan in your name.

However, it’s important to get your parents to commit to avoiding future debts. Paying their debts now won’t help them if they just run up new debts later.

10. Lower expenses to free up cash flow

If you can’t take over a bill or debt, you can do some legwork to help lower your parents’ expenses. Help them shop around for cheaper prices on insurance, cable, or other bills.

And if they have various debts, you can research refinancing or debt consolidation options for them that could help lower their costs. You can also help them downsize their home or refinance their mortgage for lower monthly payments.

Check in on their finances regularly

The sooner you and your parents can get on the same page and plan for the future, the better. It will give you more time to find solutions and grow their nest egg. But executing that plan is a process that will span the last decades of their lives.

You’ll need to check in with your parents regularly about their financial situation and ensure everyone’s doing their part. Once everyone’s on the same page, you can all work together to ensure your parents’ golden years are their best ones yet.

Interested in a personal loan?

LendingTree allows you to compare rates from multiple lenders by filling out one easy form. Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

RATES (APR)loan amount
5.99% – 20.01%1 $5,000 to $100,000
6.14% – 35.99% $1,000 to $50,000
6.98% – 35.89%* $1,000 to $50,000
99.00% – 199.00%2 $500 to $4,000
5.99% – 24.99%3 $5,000 to $35,000
5.99% – 29.99%4 $7,500 to $40,000
compare rates on Lendingtree now
NMLS #1136: Terms & Conditions Apply
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 20.01% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 15, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 4.93% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
    See Consumer Licenses.
  3. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  4. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.
  5. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
  2. NV Residents: The use of high-interest loans services should be used for short-term financial needs only and not as a long-term financial solution. Customers with credit difficulties should seek credit counseling before entering into any loan transaction.

  3. OppLoans performs no credit checks through the three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Applicants’ credit scores are provided by Clarity Services, Inc., a credit reporting agency.

  4. Based on customer service ratings on Google and Facebook. Testimonials reflect the individual’s opinion and may not be illustrative of all individual experiences with OppLoans. Check loan reviews.

  5.  

    Rates and terms vary by state.

3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.
4 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through FreedomPlus.com are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 5.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 5.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.98%-35.89%. All personal loans have a 1.5% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by WebBank, Member FDIC.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

Published in Big Money Decisions, Budgeting & Expenses, Credit & Debt, Investments & Savings, Spend Less

You're on your way...

You are being redirected to LendingTree.com where you’ll be able to fill out an online form. Based on your creditworthiness, you may be matched with up to five different personal loan lenders in our partner network.